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Windleshaw Chantry

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Date: [unknown] [unknown]
Location: St Helens, Lancashire, Englandmap
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The chapel of Windleshaw Chantry was opened in 1415 as a private chapel for masses for the souls of the family. It closed in 1548 as a result of the Protestant Reformation. The tower and chapel then fell into ruin. However, starting sometime in the 1600's, when Catholicism was illegal and Catholics were refused burial in the Church of England churchyards, Catholics in the area began secretly burying bodies around the ruins creating a Catholic cemetery which was later enlarged by an additional donation of land. The site is under the jurisdiction of St Thomas of Canterbury Catholic Church on Dentons Green Lane, Windleshaw, St Helens which holds the burial records. It is believed that as many as 8000 burials may have occurred in the cemetery and there are records for about 4000 of those burials. The site is now completely surrounded by, and has become a part of, St Helens Cemetery, but records of burials in this small site are not included in the online records for St. Helens Cemetery. See "Unearthing the history of Windleshaw Chantry," St Helens Star, 4 April 2015 (http://www.sthelensstar.co.uk/NEWS/12870493.Unearthing_the_history_of_Windleshaw_Chantry : accessed 25 Aug 2018). See also Kevin Heneghan, "Windleshaw Chantry - 600 years old," The Archdiocese of Liverpool (http://www.liverpoolcatholic.org.uk/index.php?p=854 : accessed 25 Aug 2018)

As of 2019 there is a very active local group working on repairing and maintaining this cemetery, who have a Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/929253387207046/?ref=group_header) with many photos which anyone interested in the cemetery, local or not, can ask to join. They also have a website with interesting information about the Chantry on.

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